ARTICLE – Here are some gift ideas for the photographer on your shopping list!
Datacolor Spyder Checkr Photo
Need something a little different for the super particular photographer you know? The Datacolor Spyder Checkr Photo might just be a perfect choice! This color calibration tool does a lot more than the old white balance target I have been using for years. My existing color balancing target is divided into thirds with a white area, 50% gray area, and black area. I really only use the gray area to set the white balance in Adobe Camera RAW as part of my initial post-processing workflow and the white area to set the upper end of the exposure histogram. The Datacolor Spyder Checkr Photo target system uses a combination of 24 non-skin tone color patches, 6 skin tone patches, 6 black & white patches, 24 grayscale patches, and two large gray areas to perfectly calibrate your camera/lighting setup.
One of the hardest things to do in digital photography — in my experience — is to get skin tones spot on. The handy little set of calibration patches that come in this compact hard plastic case should make this problem go away forever. Downloadable Spyder Checkr software combined with target shots of the color patches taken with your camera and lighting gear facilitates making HCL presets inside Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Camera RAW, or Hasselblad Phocus. These can be used to ensure your photos look exactly like the original subject matter on a calibrated computer screen or in print.
The target cards are printed with Datacolor’s Ultra Matte process that ensures glare will not alter the color of each color patch. The patch cards are also available for purchase if they should become damaged — you do not have to repurchase the entire outfit.
If you know a photographer that is really particular about their work — especially one struggling to get their colors just the way they want them, consider the Datacolor Spyder Checkr Photo.
Price: $99.99 (on sale for $79.99)
Where to buy: Datacolor or Amazon
Nixplay 10.1-inch Touch Screen Photo Frame
When you live far away from family, you tend to do what you can to stay connected. One way my sister and I have discussed keeping in better touch with our parents is to get them a Wireless digital photo frame. Keeping up with reviews, Nixplay has been highly rated, reliable, and easy to use when it comes to their digital photo frames. Their 10.1 inch touch screen photo frame is the perfect size for any room. Nixplay has included an abundance of features, such as sensing when you are in the room and turning on/off, setting up a time of day to turn on/off, (for those who keep it on your nightstand in your bedroom!) a high quality IPS display, easy to use app, and most importantly, it is extremely easy for anyone to set up.
The Nixplay 10.1-inch Touch Screen Photo Frame is a great device to share photos and bring joy to friends and family over the years to come, as seeing a surprise photo of your niece when you wake up in the morning would brighten anyone’s day!
Where to buy: NixPlay and Amazon
Manfrotto Type B CFExpress Card and Card Reader
The Manfrotto Professional Memory Card Reader connects to your computer and enables high-speed transfers of your photos and videos from your CFExpress Type B memory card. It’s Windows and Mac compatible, so it’s compatible with most computers.
Utilizing high-speed USB 3.2, transfers of up to 10 Gbps are possible (2x faster than USB 3.0). 30-inch UЅВ Туре-С tо Туре-С аnd Туре-С tо Туре-А саblеs are both included.
The аnоdіѕеd аlumіnіum housing not only provides durability but also serves as a heat sink to aid in cooling. A rear USB Type-C connector provides universal compatibility for use with a different length cable.
A rubber end cover ensures dust stays out and ensures the card is protected during travel. The cover does easily detach if you want to remove it. Fast and reliable file transfers make the Manfrotto Professional Memory Card Reader the perfect gift for any photographer.
The Manfrotto Professional 128GB, PCIe 3.0, CFexpress Type B Memory Card provides unparalleled performance in an industrial strength package. Professional DSLRs and advanced CSC cameras require fast and reliable memory cards. The Manfrotto CFExpress Type B card is designed for these demanding photo and video tasks.
Professional performance is the bottom line. With download speeds up to 1730MB/s and capture speeds up to 1540MB/s, the Manfrotto CFExpress Type B card can record in 8K, 6K, and 4K video at high frame rates and incredible speeds.
In demanding environments, such as heat and cold, you need a memory card that won’t quit. Rated for temperature ranges from -25°C to 70°C (-13°F to 158°F), Manfrotto Professional Memory Cards are built to withstand demanding temperature variations such as sub-zero arctic or leaving your memory card in a hot car.
As a photographer, I can assure you that we can always have more memory cards. The Manfrotto Professional Memory Cards are sure to be well-received by any photographer.
Where to buy: Manfrotto Professional Memory Card Reader – $54.99
Professional 128GB, PCIe 3.0, CFexpress™ Type B Memory Card – $186.99
Pivo Pod Lite
The Pivo Pod Lite is a wireless auto-tracking smartphone stand that adds motion to your videos automatically. It allows you to stay in frame with 360° automatic face and body tracking. That means whenever you move, the device will move with you to add a unique and fun element that makes your videos more interactive. There’s even a pose mode so you can take hands-free photos without a problem. This portable stand can be a great tool for anyone that creates video content and online streaming sessions.
Where to buy: pivo.ai and Amazon
DxO image editing software
If you are looking to purchase something a little different this Christmas for the photographer in your life, you might consider one or more of these products from DxO: DxO PhotoLab, DxO FilmPack, or DxO Viewpoint.
The image above shows DxO PhotoLab — a comprehensive image editor that includes support for basically every RAW format currently in play from Canon, to Nikon, to Sony, and all the rest. This editor reads the EXIF data for your photo(s) and automatically offers to download correction data for your camera lens combination and apply these corrections automatically. Some of these corrections are subtle, but also important to the photographer who wants the most accurate image representation possible. The software also includes a pretty intuitive photo manager that will help your favorite shutterbug’s images organized, tagged, and easy to find. It is also important to note that DxO uses non-subscription licensing, so once you buy it, you own that version. No more monthly or annual fees like Photoshop and a lot of other applications these days. I personally do not really mind the subscription-based approach, but I see a lot of other photographers who seem to feel otherwise on the photo forums.
Here we see the before and after comparison of an image I took in Toronto this Summer. After applying the automatic perspective correction in DxO Viewpoint you will note the typical ‘lean in’ of the buildings to the left and the right that plagues these kinds of photos was corrected in a matter of seconds! Any photographer who takes photos of tall building and other subjects that are prone to perspective distortion would love to receive a copy of this handy tool. It works as a stand alone application or as a plugin inside DxO PhotoLab or Adobe Photoshop. This kind of perspective correction can still take a fair amount of time if you do it manually in Photoshop. The application also has a number of other features like the ability to mimic the popular ‘tiny world’ effect of an expensive tilt-shift lens.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, the photographer in your life already has a bag full of photo gear, Adobe Photoshop, and everything else they think they need. If they are like me and they have been doing this for a while — oh, say 50 years or so — they might miss the look and feel of the old film days once in a while. Make no mistake, I have no desire to go back to the film days and I am not really nostalgic for the many hours I have spent in a darkroom. I enjoyed all of that at the time, but digital gear has opened up so many more possibilities for me and I really love the way technology has changed image capture. Having said that, once in a while I do wonder what an image I am working on would look if I had shot it with my old Minolta SLR on Tri-X B&W film. With DxO FilmPack (shown above acting as a plugin for Abobe Photoshop) I can get the look of hundreds of old film styles going back to the very early days of photography — even before I first picked up a camera!
I have really enjoyed the chance to play with these innovative tools from DxO. Maybe someone you know might like to have a go at them as well?
Price: DxO PhotoLab $219, DxO ViewPoint $99, DxO FilmPack $139
Where to buy: dxo.com
Lowepro Trekker Lite BP 150 AW camera bag
If you have a photography enthusiast or even a professional photographer on your gift list, one great option would be a nice gear backpack that allows them to take their camera and accessories like lenses and a tripod anywhere including on hikes and treks off of the main path.
The Lowepro Trekker Lite collection is the top choice for travel photography adventures and the Lowepro Trekker Lite BP 150 AW is the perfect gear bag backpack for any photographer. Features include a soft structure and modular inserts, a removable GearUp camera insert, and a strap kit, with 3 large grab handles on the top, side, and front. Also, on the back is a hideaway strap system and a separate laptop sleeve for quick security checks when traveling through airports or other security-sensitive places.
The Lowepro Trekker Lite BP 150 AW backpack is lightweight and includes 79% recycled and solution-dyed fabrics, to reduce water waste which is good for the environment. You also get an all-weather AW cover that protects gear from rain, snow, and dust.
Where to buy: Lowepro website and Adorama
Manfrotto MOVE Quick release system
The Manfrotto MOVE Quick release system is designed to speed up switching between photography or video setups. The MOVE is constructed of anodized machined aluminum and is compatible with 3/8″ and 1/4″ attachment screws on tripods, lighting stands, or motion control gear. By adding bases to your various supports and the plate to any compatible device, you can quickly and easily switch gear from one setup to the next with one simple twist. Drop the new device in and you’re ready to go. This system can support up to 44 lbs while only weighing .49 lbs, making it the lightest quick-release system available.
Where to buy: Manfrotto and Amazon